Only At The Alamo

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS: THE DIRECTOR’S CUT

Director Frank Oz
Year 1986
Starring Rick Moranis, Ellen Greene, Steve Martin, Vincent Gardenia, John Candy, Jim Belushi, Bill Murray, Tichina Arnold, Michelle Weeks, Tisha Campbell
Rating PG-13
Run Time 102min
Age Policy

18 and up; Children 6 and up will be allowed only with a parent guardian. No children under the age of 6 will be allowed.

More Info IMDb

Imagine it's the fall of 1986 and you are a Warner Bros. executive attending a test screening of the studio's big holiday release, a musical called LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, in lovely San Jose. The audience takes their seats, the film rolls and director Frank Oz's movie begins to work its magic. By the midway point, everyone is having a great time, rocking out to the catchy score, laughing at Steve Martin's outrageous performance as a devious dentist, gasping at the surprise cameos from big-name comedians and loving every minute that Rick Moranis and Ellen Greene are on the screen as Seymour and Audrey. "This picture is going to be a b-l-o-c-k-b-u-s-t-e-r!" you immediately think.

But then, in the last 20 minutes, the mood changes dramatically. A plot twist throws the crowd for a loop, and they don't like it. An elaborate (and expensive) special-effects-filled finale doesn't impress them, it depresses them.  When the viewers fill out their all-important comment cards afterward, only a paltry 13 percent say that they would recommend this movie to friends. Disaster!

A second screening in Los Angeles produces exactly the same response: Everyone loves the movie right up until that nasty surprise -- then everything falls apart. Warners and Oz have to race the clock to cook up and shoot a new ending that will be a crowdpleaser.

Although they succeed and the movie is released in time for Christmas, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS does not become the across-the-board smash so many expected it to be. Only when the movie hits video in mid-1987 does it get the acclaim and adulation it deserves.

Twenty-eight years later, we can finally see LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS as Oz envisioned it: a movie more faithful to the stage musical, with the spectacular "Don't Feed the Plants" sequence at the end. Decide for yourself if the right decision was made, but whichever ending you prefer, you must agree that LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is a classic musical. (James Sanford)

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